The PUSH guide to ensuring workplace wellbeing

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Workplace wellbeing was a key focus of World Mental Health Day 2022 earlier this month, with more companies than ever looking at their processes and how they affect the people they employ in this post-pandemic world of ours.

So Cate Murden, Founder and CEO of workplace coaching and training firm, PUSH, has given us her insights on how to make sure your company is doing the right thing to welcome workers back to the office… 

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Cate Murden, Founder and CEO, PUSH

Wellbeing at work

In a recent study conducted by PUSH, 87% of the managers who work in the advertising industry said they or their team have had to deal with issues of stress and/or anxiety since the pandemic.

When considering workplace emotions it’s worth reflecting on the so-called ‘SCARF’ model devised by David Rock.

The neuro-leadership expert pinpoints five factors that directly feed into people’s feelings and make up the SCARF principle:

  • Status: Our relative importance to others
  • Certainty: Our ability to predict the future
  • Autonomy: Our sense of control over events
  • Relatedness: Our sense of safety with others
  • Fairness: Our perception of fair exchanges between people

Quiet quitting

Quiet quitting, soaring mental health problems in the workplace, and the new professional pressures of hybrid models are all contributors to a squeeze on workplace wellbeing. 

It’s time for business to address the broad range of issues to make employees feel better and improve their ability to be productive.

How to help your workforce feel better

With a wealth of insights gathered during a decade of providing wellbeing consultancy to organisations and employees, we’re in a good place to advise why a happier workplace makes a more productive workplace – and how to make it happen.

The answer lies in having a genuine and empathetic understanding of how the people in your business are feeling. 

Then it’s a case of using this insight to create and maintain a working culture and environment that makes employees feel safe.

It’s vital to view work through the eyes of individuals and their own needs. You will have a far better understanding of what your team members need if you’ve reached out to them. 

In addition, people like to feel they’ve been given the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns so that they feel part of the solution.

Doing this will automatically improve each element.

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Workplace wonders: Reaching out to teams can change how people feel and perform, says PUSH.

Here are the main details of four strategies you can use to develop and promote safe environments and cultures for every employee:

1. Practise and progress

Whether you’re exploring hybrid working or going fully remote, you almost certainly won’t get everything right. That’s why it’s important to view this period as a time for experiments, not final decisions. 

To make the experiment work you must understand what your workforce needs, and how you will judge success. Facing this new chapter with an experimental mindset takes the pressure off everyone. 

If people know everything is up for iteration, they should feel more involved and make a greater contribution.

2. Set behaviour boundaries 

For these experiments to succeed, and so that you can ensure your new way of working is a triumph, you’ll need to set in place company-wide behaviours and boundaries. 

These must be described and agreed up front, so that everyone is clear on the context and limits your new ideas are being set and tested against. 

Ultimately, this process will save everyone a lot of emotional energy. On the one hand, it stops people feeling an employer is taking advantage. 

On the other, they won’t be left wondering what is and isn’t okay. That leaves more resource for innovation and growth.

3. Commit to conversation

After the pandemic, don’t expect your people will be consistently overflowing with positivity. Make sure there are systems in place so they have someone they can talk through their feelings with, and seek help if they need it. 

In many instances, providing a fully-trained, external, confidential and non- judgemental resource isn’t just a ‘nice to have’: it’s entirely the right thing to do. 

Catching issues early means preventative support can be much simpler and quicker to action, rather than much greater and protracted need once someone hits crisis point.

4. Find new ways to learn

In the new era of hybrid and remote working, many of our clients have noted how junior members of staff in particular are suffering a lack of ‘office osmosis’: those serendipitous moments when you ask questions and quickly get answers from the person next to you. 

This also means shortcuts are lost and time is often wasted reaching a solution, in comparison to being in close proximity to fellow employees. 

Tech is helping. For example, we’ve launched an app that incorporates behavioural upskilling through innovative technology while also enabling individuals to simultaneously connect and access support.

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Joy of WFH: Most of us loved homeworking and firms need to learn faults of previous workplaces to lure us back to the office, says PUSH.

Pandemic lessons

If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that there were great faults in how we previously worked.

Many of the cultures and environments we cultivated didn’t equal a safe and happy place to work.

But the good news is, your team is ready and willing to help your organisation take off again by doing the best job they possibly can.

With the right support in place they’re sure to grow – and so is your business.